Pz.Kpfw.III with IG.33 Gun

Published: April 16th, 2012     
Box Art
Box Art
Reviewed by: 
Tom Moon, IPMS# 43192
Scale: 1/35
Company: Dragon Models
Company: Dragon Models
Price: $58.00
Product / Stock #: 6713

This is a multimedia kit comprised of 650+ styrene parts on 17 sprues, Magic Tracks, one braided metal wire (which is very stiff even after annealing), one photo etched fret, decals, and the set of instructions that need to be reviewed very carefully before gluing any parts together.

Most Dragon models today are a collection of old sprues with new sprues added to create a new kit variant. In this case, Dragon has mounted the s.IG 33 field gun to the Pz III chassis. In doing so, you will have some sprues with the same letter but are called out by the color or upper or lower case (example: Sprues Blue A, Blue B and Black b). A whole plethora of parts will be unused and relegated to the spare parts box.

Step 1. This step is the assembly of the idler wheel, drive sprockets, road wheels, and return wheels. There are no problems here other than the removal of the mold line which is noticeable on the road wheels.

Step 2 & 3. This step is the chassis build. There are 4 mold stubs on the top of the chassis tub that need to be removed. If you don't remove these stubs, the fenders will not fit. Here you will also insert the torsion bar suspension. Be careful not to mix A1 and A2 torsion bars, as they are specifically for one side. Also, the torsion bar retainers are mostly part A4, except for one at the front end driver's side, and that retainer is B18. You should also glue part S38 front armor plate to the chassis before gluing parts S37 and S39.

Step 4. This step is the detailing of the rear plate. When gluing the tow pintles in, dry fit and determine which part goes on which side. I believe that B24 and B26 should reverse sides. The instructions ask you to cut off two locating pins from the rear plate that are used to locate the Part V29. DO NOT cut off these two pins, as they are required for the proper locating of part V29. This step also has an optional photo etched deflector plate that fits between the two mufflers and is attached directly to the rear plate.

Step 5. This step adds the wheels, drive sprocket, and idler wheel to the hull chassis. No choices here. I left them off at this time for ease of painting and mounted them towards the end of the build when I added the tracks.

Step 6. This step attaches the rear panel that has the mufflers to the chassis. The instructions for the plate V41 show two locating lines to be removed. You will also need to remove the matching lines on the upper part of V41 where the holding bolts are located.

Step 7. This step adds the on-vehicle tools and support brackets for the left fender.  The photo etched part MA4 needs to be glued in at this time as, after you attach the fender, you can't get this part in. Later, you will need to clip off a small portion of this photo etched part as it will interfere with the mounting of the casemate. You can dry fit the casemate to determine the correct place to make the cut. The rear convoy light can be assembled from multiple parts, including some PE. Or you can use part A13 as is, which is what I did. In placing the fire extinguisher, I placed the PE mount MA14 without the fire extinguisher so I could paint the base color, then add the extinguisher later. When placing the spare road wheel holder towards the rear of the fender, you will find that there are no locating holes if you use the plastic part A18. Even if you use A18 and cut off the locating pins or use the PE part MA21, you need to take care in placing the holder on the fender. I suggest that you put one road wheel on the holder to make sure that everything clears the chassis and convoy light. The rear fender flap show as an option with PE part MA7, but does not show the optional plastic part, which is A41.

Step 8. This step adds most of the on-vehicle tools and support brackets to the right fender. It asks you to drill 4 holes in both fenders B14 & B15. The only problem was the sprues only had parts B25 and B26. These holes are to mount the casemate in step 14. As with all Dragon instructions, read carefully and look several steps ahead to make sure you are getting everything in its proper place. The photo etched part MA3 needs to be glued in at this time as, after you attach the fender you can't get this part in and will need to be clipped like part MA4 in step 7. The rear fender flap show as an option with PE part MA7, but does not show the optional plastic part, which is A40. Be careful in the placement of the jack, as there are no locating holes and the clearances are very tight.

Step 9. This step adds the rear deck covers and hatches. There are three choices to be made between showing the tow cables in place using one plastic piece K1 or multiple parts and an assembled tow cable using the braided wire or install the brackets and have the cable missing. Since I mounted the two storage bins over this area, I left the tow cable off.

Step 10. This step installs the upper casemate. The instructions show 4 hinges attached to the rear of the casemate, but do not call them out. These are parts T17. Part T8, sliding gun shield, is designed to be moveable so you can position the gun at any desired angle. You may want to sand the two sides that fit under the retaining bar, as mine was a tight fit after the glue had set on parts T22 and T23.

Step 11. This step builds the front deck and starts on the field gun.

Step 12. This step builds the gun chassis. Parts C19 is mismarked on the instructions, as it should be C11. Part C11 is mismarked on the instructions, as it should be C19. Don't let the glue set between frames C19 and C8, as in step 13 you will insert the gun subassembly L. Once subassembly gun L has been inserted between the two frames, if you gently clamp the frames together, the gun can elevate freely so you can display it at your desired angle.

Step 13. This step builds the fighting compartment interior and the gun mount.

Step 14. This step assembles all the subassemblies along with the tracks. Here is where you need to dry fit many times to make sure all parts will fit. I added the gun/gun mount subassembly K first. This assumes that the gun is movable. Second, I added the front deck. Third, I added the fenders. It is important that you get these in and let the glue set for at least one day. Now you need to dry fit the casemate and the rear deck many times to ensure proper fitting. The locating pins on the casement were not a good fit to the holes on the fenders. I drilled out the holes and that helped, but I ended up having to cut off the large front locating pin from the casemate to get everything to drop into place. The rear deck required some nibbling at some of the locating tabs to allow it to drop into place. I left the tracks off until the very end.

Step 15. This step adds the front armor, towing pintles, and two fender supports. The spare track bar W26 is in the box, but my kit did not have it marked on the sprue. I was unable to figure out how PE parts MA5 and MA6 were to be fitted between the fender and chassis.

These are Magic Tracks that require no cleanup unless you want to remove the ejector pin marks on the inner face of each track. These appear to be the proud type that will clean up with a swipe of the sanding stick or a sharp blade. These are not workable tracks so you will need to glue them together.

The method I use to glue the tracks together is as follows:

  1. I use a track jig that is adjustable. I place it on the work surface and put a strip of yellow Tamiya tape down with the sticky side up. If you don't have a jig, you can use a ruler. Just tape it down and use it as a guide to keep the tracks straight.
  2. Then I "assemble" the track using the jig and tape to hold all the parts in place.
  3. I prepare the tracks one side at a time by adding a dab of Tamiya thin glue at each joint and letting this set for about 3 to 5 minutes. This will allow the glue to set enough to hold the tracks together but still be flexible enough to put sag into the tracks.
  4. Here I used a new tool from Hobby Trax, Part number HT 014. This is a track form that allows you to drape the glued, but not yet set, track around it. I taped the tracks down to the form to ensure the sag will be formed into the track.
  5. Let them dry.
  6. Remove the tracks. Paint and weather them off the vehicle.
  7. Mount the tracks to the model, along with the drive sprocket and idler wheels and return rollers.
  8. When you are happy with how the tracks look on the model, glue the drive sprocket and idler wheel into their permanent position. Make sure that the tracks are correctly aligned, as one of the biggest mistake armor modelers make is to have tracks that are toed in or out caused by the improper alignment of drive sprockets and/or idler wheels.

Steps 16. This step adds the two storage bins to the rear deck.

Accuracy

The drawings found in the references listed below show the kit to be basically accurate. Since I'm not a rivet counter, I don't go beyond that. I model for fun.

Molding

I found the molding to be clean, with no sink marks and few ejector pin marks. The mold seams were easily removed and I saw no flash. Dragon makes extensive use of the pin nodes to keep ejector pin marks on the parts to a minimum. However, you will need to handle the removal and clean up of the parts with care.

Instructions

As with all Dragon's instructions, read them carefully and plan what you want to do ahead of construction. Check the fit over and over and over again to make sure that all items fit together.

Painting and decals

The color call outs are for Testors Model Master enamel and Gunze paints. I continue to see a weakness in the painting instructions from all kit makers. Instructions for the small parts like the pioneer tools and travel lights are never listed or shown. Here you have to guess or mimic what someone else has done. The decals are by Cartograf and are up to their usual high standards.

Conclusion

This is a well engineered and molded model. If you make sure that the instructions are correct, the model goes together very well. It is a good mix of styrene and photo-etch. I can recommend this kit to all WWII modelers.

References for this variant are included in the following books:

  • Sturmgeschutz, s.PaK to Sturmmorser; Panzer Tracts No.8, by T. Jentz & H. Doyle.
  • Sturmgeschutz and its Variants; Spielberger Series Vol.II, Schiffer, by W. Spielberger.
  • Panzer III and its Variants; Spielberger Series Vol.III, Schiffer, by W. Spielberger.
  • Encyclopedia of German Tanks of World War Two, Revised Edition; Arms and Armour Press, by P. Chamberlain, H. Doyle & T. Jentz.
  • Sturmartillerie & Panzerjager 1939-1945; Osprey New Vanguard 34, by B. Perrett.
  • German Sturmartillerie at War, Vol.1; Concord 7029, by F. De Sisto & L. Lecocg.
  • German Sturmartillerie at War, Vol.2; Concord 7030, by F. De Sisto & L. Lecocg.
  • Sturmgeschutz III, StuG.IV & s.IG33; Achtung Panzer 5, by M. Bitoh, H. Kitamura, T. Namie & S. Hards.

Of course, there are others available.

Thanks to Dragon for the review sample and IPMS/USA for the opportunity and the review space.

  • Left front
    Left front
  • Right front
    Right front
  • Left rear
    Left rear
  • Right rear
    Right rear

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